Things that have briefly held my toddlers attention and not been expensive!

Firstly, I should point out that by entertained I really mean: keeping out of trouble, not making a moaning noise, not harassing the dog, not randomly licking objects/surfaces, taking a break from demanding cheese despite already having some in his hand, not flinging himself dramatically on the floor to express his despair with the world and generally Ollivov being ‘positively’ distracted. Entertained just seems a little more succinct and less damming of the Olephants changeable nature.

Secondly, none of these things cost more than, I think, £1.50. Which is lucky as nursery, although being utterly worth it and probably the sole reason Ollie has developed beyond a banana eating slug creature, does cost an inordinate amount. Rosie convinced me the nursery Ollie was going to was a standard price. It’s not, but it is totally worth it so I’ll let her off. Also, and potentially most importantly, I have a recurring dream of living out a Scrooge McDuck money swimming style life, that just won’t happen unless Pose and I are a tad miserly with money at times.

As a disclaimer nothing has kept him engaged for more than 5 minutes consecutively. It seems there’s a golden rule that, the longer something takes to set up, the less time it will keep the Olephant’s attention. I can’t help but irrationally feel that he knows we’ve put extra effort in to some things and is being a little ‘judgier’ with these activities. I would say more discerning, but that gives his interactions a degree of class that just isn’t present. It’s the way he rather consistently says ‘oh dear’, in his mildly patronising toddler falsetto that really drives home his disappointment with us the most.

Anyway, here are some of the things that didn’t elicit a doleful look and reproachful rejection:

Cardboard castles

This was entirely down to Pose. I had ordered a giant, and I mean giant, bean bag as I thought Ollievov would have fun messing about on it. He was utterly indifferent to it, so now we have an obnoxiously big bean bag loitering in our small front room. Brilliant. However, Pose instead of throwing the obscenely big box it came in away, got handy with some scissors and made a castle. It takes up a stupid amount of our already cluttered front room and I think Ozzie (our dog) sees it as a possible enemy. Fortunately though, for the sake of it’s continuing existence, Ollie loves it and has started to use it as a lair of sorts where he can hide and plot with his growing Dragon collection.


Yeah so, this is ‘kinda’ free/cheap. In that Olliebob goes free but Pose and I pay our monthly fee. Given that we go 4-5 times a week on average it really doesn’t cost masses. Ollie frankly loves bobbing about with his arm bands on shouting at the top of his voice and generally having a top time. I have no idea if he’s doing well for a <2 year old, he’s not drowned if that counts, but we’re all enjoying the family time and swimming does have hidden benefits. The number one benefit being that it gives Pose and I a fighting chance at a nights sleep, as an hour’s swim tends to wear Ollie out. Not completely tire out mind, but enough to give us a small chance at bed time.

Tapioca Pearl messy play

This one was something that was blatantly nabbed from Pinterest in some way. I don’t really understand how anyone would think that playing with slimy little coloured balls of tapioca is something that anyone would want to do. However, me understanding or not is besides the point as Olliebob spent a good 30 minutes (on and off) prodding and not so subtly trying to eat the tapioca when he thought no one was looking. Two months later and we’re still finding stray tapioca pearls stuck in odd locations in the front room.

Dens in the wood

This was a slight cheat in that the den was already built. I think Olephant may need a few more years before he enjoys building dens himself. It’s still touch and go whether or not Ollie will eat the stick he’s carrying, so planned building is a little way off. However, despite his lack of construction skills, he is a fan of hiding in things and yelling boo at people who come near. The quarry/wood near where we live is ace to begin with and adding in dens just makes it better. One of my favourite days out has just been messing about in woods with Ollie. Poking vigorously at the dead leaves scattered throughout the woods with a stick is fast becoming my absolutely favourite way to spend an afternoon.

Easter egg hunt!

This one is a bit season specific but the basic premise is totally adaptable. Hiding things and then getting small emotionally stable people to competitively hunt for them, is never going to have issues. I think Ollie would as happily have looked for stones to be honest, he just liked being a little nosey.

To be fair, the events committee who organised the egg hunt in our village are ace and did some organisational/logistical magic and ensured everyone got a good array of eggs and no one was left out. Given what a trooper Ollie is, he did still find an excuse to get a bit acrimonious though. Upon removing the remains of his creme egg a recriminatory glare and ‘tantrumy’ stomp ensued. Ignore the fact it was covered in mud and very little of it was left, we we’re depriving him of the yummiest thing ever.

If anyone has any suggestions on ways of positively distracting Ollie please say.


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